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Our Little Family

Taking Care of The Kids with Doctor On Demand

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The internet is a wonderful thing, but at times it does a pretty darn good job of cultivating and perpetuating our fears – especially when it comes to kids. Example: A few weeks ago Charlie had a certain symptom (which I’ll spare you/him the details of because it had to do with his stool) that was kinda weird and WebMD diagnosed it as kidney failure. Now no matter how confident you are in your kids well-being, it is slightly disturbing to read those words. Take that “diagnosis” and add the fact that one of his parents is a bit more on the cautionary side, and what you get is a lot of unnecessary worry and doctor appointments. We went to the doctor and we were told that little chuckles was simply eating too much dairy after he had recouped from a virus. That appointment took 2 hours – from leaving the house to getting home. As a busy mom (all moms are busy, working or not) 2  hours out of your day is a huge bummer. Sure, I was glad to know that he wasn’t dying of kidney failure, but I kinda already knew that.

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Enter Doctor On Demand – a virtual doctors visit, with a real bonafide, vetted and board-certified doctor, that you carry out from the convenience of your own home, available 24/7. It’s good, sound medical advice/diagnosis from a living human being, who knows/cares/is informed of your particular situation. Would I use it if he was coughing up blood? NO. This is not for any emergencies, or anything that you think could be life threatening. For me, it’s for the one million times that we are simply unsure if we need to go to the doctor (with the usual answer of: No, we don’t need to). It’s been a stress saver and a marriage mediator.

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I didn’t know about this service until they reached out and since they did I have used it 3 times – because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and calming – especially with a toddler and a newborn.

Let me walk you through one of those scenarios:

We brought Elliot home on a Tuesday. On Wednesday Charlie started showing severe signs of a cold with quite a cough developing – runny nose, slight fever, aching, flem etc. The timing was less than ideal. Even I was worried she would get it (if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not the extra-worried parent). I kept telling myself that since I was breastfeeding she’d have a better chance of fighting it off. And keeping them apart wasn’t going to happen – we needed him to love her, not be told he has to stay away from her. I think Brian and I both knew that there was nothing to be done, but we also hadn’t been to the doctors with Charlie for a cold and cough in so long that maybe there is something we can give him now, to speed up the recovery process, that we couldn’t when he was younger and sick a year ago. So instead of going to the doctors with a newborn and a sick toddler (we had just gotten home from the hospital) we scheduled a Doctor On Demand appointment.

Poor little Charlie. A sick toddler is just so sad and pathetic.

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The point of this video visit was to a.) Make sure that we knew everything we could do to prevent the cold from spreading and, b.) Ask if there was anything we could do for Charlie to help speed up his recovery or help him sleep better (so I didn’t have an emotional breakdown due to lack of sleep).

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I logged onto the app and scheduled it for an hour later, although you can see a Dr. right away and average wait time is about 90 seconds. Once the appointment started (it lasts 15 minutes) I introduced Charlie and Elliot to our doctor, Dr. Tania Elliott and she asked us all a bunch of questions – the usual about the color of mucus, how long he’s been sick, whether his throat hurt, how often he was coughing, if he was coughing anything up, etc.

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She then gave us her advice, and yes in this case it was what we already knew: To keep hands/faces/lips as clean as possible. To watch for fever/lethargy/ if the cough worsened, and to keep her as protected as possible. For Charlie she reminded us of the saline/Nose Frida situation, to watch his cough and mucus, and make sure that it doesn’t develop too much into his lungs. If we were desperate, to help him sleep with Motrin.

Dr. Tania was extremely friendly, professional, caring, and informative. Was it worth the $40 to get that advice? ABSOLUTELY. When you have a newborn and you are nervous (even as second parents) $40 is worth calming your fears.

Now, 4 days later when Elliot got that cold (at 9 days old) we went straight to the doctor – mainly to listen to her lungs to make sure they remained clear.

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Interesting enough, the most frequent illness-related reason for a visit to the doctor’s office is a cough, and is associated with more than 90 medical conditions. It is not something that should be self-diagnosed and Doctor On Demand is the one of the most convenient ways to have it checked and treated.

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Doctor On Demand is not trying to replace your actual doctor – nor is it trying to be an emergency room although there are a host of emergencies that can be treated through a video visit from your home, your office, or while on the road. According to research 70% of ER visits are non-emergent and an expensive visit to the ER can be avoided. Think about when you are traveling and you can’t see your doctor but you need a refill on your inhaler (that recently happened to me), or if your toddler has a cough every morning and you want to make sure it’s nothing serious. It gives you another option. Instead of going to urgent care you can do this from the comfort of your own home.

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I had another appointment the other day to show them Elliot’s belly button which fell off at 5 days (typically its 10 – 20 days) and was bleeding more than I liked. We wanted to know if the bleeding was normal (it was), if it was looking like it was infected (it wasn’t) and how to help it heal (gauze, rubbing alcohol and letting it breathe). Much easier than driving to the doctor’s office and much more personal information than simply Googling it.

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As a busy mom you want to make sure that you are properly caring for your kids, obviously, but wasting 2 hours at the doctors to be told that nothing is wrong is not an awesome option. Luckily, Doctor On Demand physicians can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications if needed for 18 of the top 20 conditions that are treated in urgent care or the ER. Both Brian and I get peace of mind and without a discussion where I feel like I’m being neglectful, and he feels like he’s overbearing.

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Our friends over at Doctor On Demand have passed along the code: EMILYHENDERSON so that you can schedule your first video visit for free with a board certified physician, pediatrician, doctorate-level psychologist, or lactation consultants on your smartphone or computer. In an age where we constantly seem too “connected” to technology it is nice to know that there is a service out there that you can trust to instantly answer questions, alleviate fears, and help you spend one less moment on WebMD stressing that you or your child’s stomach ache/runny nose/cough is the beginning of the end. Besides, anything that allows me to spend one less moment in those sterile waiting rooms is a winner for me.

***This post in partnership with Doctor On Demand, although all words, ideas and opinions are mine. Photography by the always lovely and talented Stephanie Todaro

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  1. Oh my god….the $1,200 zit just made me burst out laughing at work. Poor Brian!

    1. me too, love that part! my husband is the same exact way 🙂

  2. We have used Dr on Demand also and it definitely has a place and value. Your children are adorable, as a mother of 22 and 18 year old boys I know you are in for some good times!

    Where did the brass and marble arc lamp next to the hand table come from? Thanks!!

    1. I just saw both of those lamps at Target!

  3. Hoping little Charlie get well soon. Salute to you as a busy mom with tons activity on daily basis.

  4. The photo of Charlie and bear cat is slaying me it’s so adorable!!

  5. Such beautiful shots of your home and your family. And you look so stylishly cozy.

    Analog House
    http://theanaloghouse.blogspot.com

  6. THANK YOU for this post. Our pede recently changed policy and schedules ‘day of’ appoints as they call. You never know if you will get the first 8:15 AM appointment or if you will get the 3:00 PM appointment. As a working parent, this policy means I have to cancel an entire day, no matter what time the appointment is. I can’t wait to try this out!

  7. “Brian once went to the emergency room for what he thought was a tumor in his nose which turned out to be a $1200 zit.”

    Hahahaha laughing out loud at work. This is my husband.

  8. A big positive I see about ‘Doctor on Demand’ is just keeping your little ones out of a doctor’s waiting room which might be sterile looking as far as design goes but can be a breding ground for picking up any sort of ‘sick’ germs. I hate to even think about sitting in an ER ‘germ city’ waiting room for what can be hours….and I’m the queen of ‘googleing’ to find the most serious issue available for what turns out to be that cough or zit.

  9. Thank you so much for this! Last month we were in the ped waiting room two days in a row for two hours each time–one for a misdiagnosis and the next day for a re-diagnosis/prescription. Next time a toddler cold pops up, I am so using this service (which costs the same as my co-pay anyway!)

    Is it available 24 hours a day? They don’t mention anything about hours or time zones on their website.

  10. It’s hard to pay attention to the text in this post when you fill it with photos of Elliot:) I can’t wait to see more of her! Your family is truly blessed.

  11. Glad both kiddos are on the mend! Question about this service: are the visit records and results transferred to your pediatrician? That would be important for follow up care. You also want to be careful if your insurance plan has a deductible, that the cost of this service goes to meet the deductible – otherwise, you may be paying more out of pocket than you need to. Also, before turning to a service like this, check out if your pediatrician has an on-call nurse line. Often they can give the kind of advice you received for Charlie, and without a co-pay at all.

    1. When my kids were babies, our insurance company had a call-in Nurse line which I used a couple times. So helpful for parents with littles and those worrisome times when you are really not sure if they need doctor care. (Which are obnoxiously always at about 9 pm) Thanks for sharing, Emily! Glad you found this service to give you peace of mind. Oh, and I also have the charming situation of being the “relaxed” parent aka The Neglectful One, and my husband the “obsessive” parent aka The Neurotic One. We’ve managed to successfully raise our two kids to teenagers with a few eyerolls, probably from both sides. 🙂

  12. This will be great when I have a cold, and my husband is convinced I need to go to the doctor.
    And also when he has a cold and is convinced he is dying… lol
    Thanks so much for introducing me to this service!

  13. Due to a nasty looking (but totally normal rash) I took my daughter to the doctor three times in a week, this sounds way better and requires way less wearing of real pants!

  14. “Sterile waiting room” is usually sterile only in the design sense. Any opportunity to keep your young children out of the hospital or doctor’s office is a good one due to what they can pick up while there. I’m adding this service to my toolbox along with the nurse advice hotline. Thanks for the freebie code!

    1. I brought our second daughter home from China, took her to the doctor in America for her vaccinations, and IN THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE she picked up a bad case of foot and mouth disease. So staying out of the doctor’s office seems to be a great reason for trying this online doctor stuff! Traveled all over a third world, polluted country and and managed to keep her healthy, only to contract that nastiness in Connecticut. Just sayin.

  15. I love your personalized articles they are both funny and informative. Beautiful photos of you and your lovely kids!
    http://www.dorisleslieblau.com/blog/

  16. Husbands are ginormous wimps. That is all.

  17. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will be having my second baby in a few weeks. My oldest is in first grade and I’m worried about keeping baby safe while he and his older, germ-riddled brother bond during cold and flu season. Your experience with Charlie and Elliot has given me peace of mind. Thank you for sharing your story and great resource!

  18. What a great idea! So good to know about, as I’m expecting my first in January. Thankfully my sister is a PA, and even though she lives far away I will call her (and even send photos) to have her pre-diagnose symptoms!

  19. This is so good! In Melbourne, where I live, we have a free government-run service called Nurse On Call which has helped me SO MUCH over the years, especially when we first brought our baby home. Basically you call a nurse and she tells you what to do right now, if it’s normal and when you need to see a doctor. If it’s after-hours there’s a free GP helpline too, so the nurse can direct your call there if she thinks you should be speaking to a doctor. Luckily we have a doctors office open til 10pm everyday, 10 minutes from our house, because somehow my kid never gets sick during business hours, and always on weekends. But even if it was after that, there’s a GP service who you can schedule a visit to your house for — I’ve never had to use it (it’s free with our health insurance) but it’s good to have in your back pocket. Thank God for Australia!

    I really see the value of this service though — sometimes you just want them to *see* it, like when the kid has a rash! So hard to describe on the phone.

  20. Ok – didn’t even read the article but LOVE the last pic of Baby Elliot already smiling!! What a little love bug ?

  21. I’m not even kidding when I say your tiny newborn getting a cold is the worst and you deserve a medal for not losing your mind. This is an interesting service, I’ll have to check it out. Thankfully, I have no horror stories of the doctoral variety. But this sure beats dragging all three kids to the doctors when one has to go.

  22. Well this post was perfectly timed! I was reading it on the train as I was heading home to a sick kiddo. First appointment with a Doctor on Demand is in 30 mins. Excited to see how it works out — seems so easy!

  23. Emily, congrats on your beautiful baby girl. I had a question about that Serena and Lily rug. I just bought one for our living room and it’s really beautiful. I was wondering, ours smells like well a cow, will this fade over time? and also do you vacuum yours? Thanks!

  24. This sounds really interesting, esp for the depths of Michigan winters!

  25. I really don’t like to read a design blog and be “sold” to. Really disappointed in this post. I feel like my time was wasted and my attention was taken advantage of.Normally I would just unsubscribe but I wanted to share the feedback since I have appreciated your content int he past.

  26. Emily –
    I know that you use your blog and fantastic style to advertise for all sorts of great products, and I know your readers understand that is what is happening.
    As a fan, mother of three, and Harvard trained pediatrician, I love your style and ability to lead us down the right path for colors in our homes, but not sure you should cross into the business of giving medical advice.
    Dr. On Demand has some great doctors and a great concept – but did they tell you that very, very few of their doctors are actually pediatricians? Did they tell you that they pay their doctors very poorly and do not connect to the care that is provided in your local community? Did they tell you that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not endorse this type of care and is, in fact, working like crazy to find better ways to bring this convenience to patients that DOESN’T compromised on the quality and connection that is so important in pediatric care? Did they tell your prescription rates are too high, their exam capabilities too low and their focus purely on making money off of disconnected low quality visits?
    I have three children and understand the need for convenience, but make sure you do you homework before you venture into the world of giving your fans medical advice. It is a serious issue, a big responsibility, and as a paid endorsement couched as “your opinion” starts to cross lines that should make your readers uncomfortable. I would take this choice up with your marketing team even though I am sure it was a lucrative endorsement.

  27. Thanks so much Elyse. I finally found them on like page 15 of the Target website using floor lamp search. It seems they are no longer available, but I will check my local stores.

    Thanks again!

  28. I can’t stress enough how great programs like Doctor on Demand and Teledoc have changed how we approach healthcare. Reducing wait rooms, offering convenience to patients that can’t just leave. For parents, Doctor on Demand is great with examples like this. Great article and I look forward to how technology will continue to help improve lives.

  29. Nice information you share you share in this blog.

  30. Thanks for share this blog with us.

  31. It doesn`t matter that we are 21 century we still need doctor. Another great idea is using a housecall doctor if you can`t go out from your house. There was time when house visits were not a surprise.